One important set of documents tends to be forgotten in the mad scramble of divorce: your estate plan. This is comprised of several essential documents that protect your financial interests and personal medical choices in the event of an emergency. If your plan isn’t updated, then your ex may still be designated as your executor and primary beneficiary.
Estate planning documents commonly include a:
- Revocable trust
- Irrevocable trust
- Advanced health care directive
- Durable power of attorney for finances
- Durable power of attorney for healthcare
Your Medical Care
Without an updated estate plan, your former spouse may legally have full control over your estate in the event of a medical emergency. The intent of a durable power of attorney for finances document is to grant an agent the authority to pay your bills, take care of your medical expenses, and manage your assets while you’re incapacitated. This means your agent has full access to your financial accounts. Likewise, a durable power of attorney for healthcare authorizes your agent to make medical choices on your behalf—so long as he or she respects your advanced healthcare directive. Depending on your relationship with your ex, this may not go well.
Luckily, all these documents can be updated to account for your present circumstances.
Your will designates which beneficiaries will receive your assets upon your death. This legal document needs to be updated if you don’t want your ex to inherit everything. Luckily, under Illinois’ Trusts and Dissolutions of Marriage Act, a divorce doesn’t affect your trusts. In fact, your trust protects your assets by pretending your spouse died before you. If your trust is revocable, you still have the power as a living trustee to alter or revoke the document per your wishes. Your former spouse, however, does not.
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Contact Wakenight & Associates, P.C. if you require divorce representation in Illinois. We offer our clients extensive legal resources, experienced counsel, and adept courtroom negotiation skills. Our firm has multiple office locations across Illinois, including: Elmhurst, Mokena, Oak Park, and Joliet.
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